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Surrey's recovery too little too late

By David Green at Cheltenham

26 July 1998

Gloucs (261-8) bt Surrey (239) by 22 runs

CONSISTENT Gloucestershire batting led by Bobby Dawson (68) and Matt Windows (59), followed by bottom-of-the-table Surrey's collapse to 26 for four, pointed to a runaway win for the home side at Cheltenham.

However, Surrey recovered in remarkable style through a partnership of 157 between James Knott, hitherto a low-profile figure on the Surrey scene, with 98, and Jason Ratcliffe (80), which almost turned the tables.

Knott, neat, and compact if a little heavier-set than Alan, his father, batted with great intelligence, using the pace of the ball to find the boundary either side of gully. He faced only 95 balls and hit 12 fours. Ratcliffe gave chances on 20 and 76, drove hard in front of the wicket off either foot and also hit powerfully to leg. He struck four sixes and five fours off 70 balls.

Either side of that, though, Surrey offered little. Ian Ward soon thin-edged, Alistair Brown holed out at square leg, Nadeem Shahid fell to a blinding catch at backward point and Ben Hollioake was lbw first ball.

However, Ratcliffe and Knott pressed forward undaunted. Though Jon Lewis eventually yorked Ratcliffe, Surrey were still in there but Courtney Walsh returned to dismiss Knott, also yorked, and Jonathan Batty in successive balls and the rest folded swiftly.

Gloucestershire, who chose to bat, made a shaky start with Dawson passed regularly by Joey Benjamin who found Gregor McMillan's outside edge in his third over. Dawson then found his touch, making some rasping straight drives.

Michael Bell, having dismissed Mark Alleyn caught behind late cutting, took some punishment from Dawson but gained revenge when the Gloucestershire opener played on having hit 14 fours off 83 balls in an increasingly impressive innings.

Only Gareth Batty was able to contain Windows and Jack Russell as they added 61 in nine overs before Russell chipped to long-on. When Benjamin returned, Windows hoisted him into the tent behind square leg.

When Windows drove Adam Hollioake to extra cover he had hit two sixes and six fours off 53 balls. Finally, Martyn Ball on-drove Ben Hollioake for six and four in the 40th over to contribute to an expensive analysis.

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Date-stamped : 27 Jul1998 - 06:17